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Old 06-14-2004, 10:42 PM   #1
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Default Laker offseason moves...

Now that the Lakers are on the verge of elimination, I'd thought I'd post a thread on what the Lakers should do this offseason.

Here's who is under contract next season...

1. Shaq
2. Devean George
3. Kareem Rush
4. Brian Cook
5. Rick Fox

Here's the unrestricted free agents for the Lakers...

1. Horace Grant
2. Slava Medvedenko
3. Bryon Russell
4. Derek Fisher ( player option)
5. Karl Malone ( player option)
6. Gary Payton ( player option)

Jamal Sampson and Luke Walton are salary protected, however Sampson is unlikely to return considering he didn't smell the court this year.

It's obvious now that Shaq and Kobe aren't going to be on the same team next year, so it's really either a Shaq or Kobe question for Buss. Resign Kobe and trade Shaq or keep Shaq and let Kobe go ( perhaps doing a sign and trade with him).

Out of the guys under contract, ALL will return as expected next year, with the exception of Fox, who is almost certain to retire. I expect Buss to let Grant, Medvedenko, and Russell walk without so much as a goodbye, so those 3 are history. Fisher will likely resign with the Lakers even if he does exercise his player option to become a free agent. Malone and Payton are gone, I think that is obvious to everyone.

As for Kobe, I think he is gone too, based on several things ( and I hope he is gone). First, Shaq and Kobe can't be on the same team anymore, that much is known. Shaq is under contract and who could the Lakers possibly get in a trade to offset losing Shaq? They would require too much in return for anyone to bite ( we're talking 3 to 4 star players and Buss wouldn't stick Shaq on a horrible team like that). Kobe's play compared to Shaq's play in the Finals is the final straw in my book. Buss isn't going to resign Kobe for even MORE money when it would upset Shaq, wouldn't be worth it because Kobe sucks, and Kobe might end up in the clink.

A sign and trade with Kobe is possible ( provided he isn't in Alcatraz) with Memphis, New York, or Indiana IMO. Memphis has Jerry West, and Kobe was rumored to have shown interest there. New York would be Lakers-East for Kobe to show off his....Kobeness? Plus, Isiah Thomas likes shaking things up. Indiana has a big man in O'Neal and could use a Kobe in their offense. The way they see it, they are the 2nd best team in the league ( behind Detroit), and only need a boost.

As for Phil Jackson, he's gone too. His contract is up and he wants too much $ to return to a team that has failed for 2 years in a row. Interestingly enough, Peter Vecsey tossed Pat Riley's name out there for a possible return to L.A. ( like I did earlier this week), claiming it's no rumor, just an idea which makes sense. Riley is negotiating a part time ownership of the Heat right now, but something tells me he couldn't pass up " fixing" the Lakers with full control under Buss' watch. I hope this talk gets the rumor mill going.

I see Shaq, George, Rush, Fisher, Walton, and Cook as the only guys to return next season. The free agent list is light this year, which hurts L.A. Top guys the Lakers should go after who are free agents IMO..

1. Steve Nash
2. Marcus Camby
3. Troy Hudson
4. Keon Clark
5. Latrell Sprewell
6. Erick Dampier

Getting one or two of these guys ( esp Nash), combined with a coaching change, and hopefully a sign and trade of Kobe to NY, Memphis, or Indiana for 2 to 3 solid stars with grounded egos would do benefit the Lakers next year. They've got alot of work to do, that's for sure.
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